Ultramarine Madness by Eric Johnson

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Eric Johnson

Ultramarine Madness


71.12 x 66.04 cm | 28 x 26 in

Oil on Linen

  • Honorable Mention / Fully From Life

Genuine Ultramarine is one of the rarest and most expensive pigments. The name comes from the Latin ultramarinus, literally "beyond the sea", because the pigment was imported into Europe from mines in Afghanistan by Italian traders during the 14th and 15th centuries. 

Get lapis with the most rich dark color and least impurities, separate the blue parts, and crush them to an impalpable powder,but not too fine, if the powder is ground too fine it'll become colorless. Make a paste with equal parts of beeswax, pine resin, and colophonium, say, 8 oz. of each; and add to this paste 1/2 oz. of linseed oil, 2 oz. of oil of turpentine, and as much more mastic. Then take 4 parts of this mixture, and 1 of lapis lazuli, mix the whole warm, and rest it for a month, at the end of which knead the mixture thoroughly in warm water with a bit of lye, until the blue part separates from it, and at the end decant the liquor. This ultramarine is exceedingly beautiful, the first pull will be the most brilliant, each pull after will get more and more dull, untill all that is left is ultramarine ash.